Medway Sport was proud to be involved in the wider Safer Streets initiative during 2022 and as a result has seen more women feeling confident to exercise safely in different environments without fear of intimidation.
Why was Safer Streets first created?
We were approached via Kent Police to be a part of the Safer Streets initiative-a wider campaign alongside partners Medway Community Safety Partnership, Medway Task Force, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner and Medway Council.
We were given a portion of the initiative’s funding to support getting women active and our objective was to create supportive, social groups to engage in sport and exercise in safe environment across all age ranges.
We knew through our research that safety and transportation were a barrier to women exercising, especially through winter nights with a greater fear of unwanted attention and possible attacks on women.
We set up new run clubs to give women confidence and freedom to feel safe in running outside; these groups allowed social connections and communities to be established with the support of a trained run-leader.
We also gave advice during these sessions and safe routes were carefully planned, giving the groups the confidence to continue running even after the funding had stopped.
What would be your top tip for other groups that were looking to organise something similar?
Firstly, when looking to start a new project, it’s important to plan for the long-term in addition to the actual launch and the initial period of funding.
Usually, any available funding is for a limited time and ideally you are looking for a project that becomes self-stainable and able to continue without funding support.
This is what we planned with regards to the ‘run groups’.
These groups continued after the initial funding and participants stepped-up to become volunteer run-leaders.
And secondly, we would recommend working with local partners as you will have access to additional resources and further publicity and consider different partners depending on your target audience.
For example, we worked with the local community police and they were able to donate personal safety items for us to give to our participants.